Sports Reality
SERIOUS TRAINING FOR THE ASPIRING ATHLETEFree Sports Performance Consultation

A significant variable that amounts to how a team performs in-season is how it trains in the off-season.   The months between seasons are when many people slack off, but teams that want to win train year-round—just like pro teams.  While there are many ways to train, there are also many ways not to train during this hiatus from the field or court.  Think about it this way: at the beginning of a season, a team needs to be—physically—beyond where it left off at the end of the previous season.  To get to this point during the months of off-season, the team needs to be trained according to what is most important to its sport, and then, further, which of these needs are slower to build, thus needing more constant attention throughout the year.  In order to gain a better perspective concerning off-season training, I’ve asked Coach Bush at Sports Reality® to discuss what not to do during the off-season, and other insight into the never-dos of training.

MAXING-OUT FOR MULTIPLE REPS

Maxing out for multiple reps on squat, bench, and deadlift is senseless—at near-maximal weight, technique will break down with the reps that are done which puts the athlete at a higher risk to injury progressing from multiple reps to failure at near maximal weight.  Also, it develops strength endurance—not absolute strength and power.  In addition, without truly maxing for a one-rep max an athlete never knows what his max is since calculating or estimating can be off depending on the athlete’s muscle fiber qualities, etc.

FROM THE FLOOR

Deadlifting from the floor, let alone maxing out for 3, 4, 5, or 6 reps in a high school weight room, is just asking for problems; lifting from the floor requires proper technique.  It’s tough to get athletes in the proper starting position due to mobility and flexibility issues most high school athletes share.  Elevated deadlifts are a better suggestion because the raised weight allows the athlete to begin in a safer starting position.

ONLY ONCE?

Benching and squatting in the off season once a week is a terrible idea.  Think about it; if you want to get better at anything you have to practice.  Doing these exercises once a week simply maintains strength instead of building strength.  If you want to fully develop an athlete you can’t do the bare minimum.

CONDITIONING

Conditioning in the Off Season makes no sense when you think about it.  Doing so takes away from the Speed, Strength, Power, and Agilities qualities by an athlete’s body having to supply nutrients to multiple places instead of a focused few.  In addition, conditioning makes it much more difficult for high school athletes to put on good quality muscle.

CIRCUITS

Doing a “Circuit” in the off-season is absolutely absurd.  How is an athlete going to get stronger doing exercise for time or high reps.  Don’t get me wrong, it has its place, but circuits shouldn’t be a staple of your off-season workout.

In conclusion, it’s important to be mindful of what to focus on during the off-season.  When performed correctly, all exercises are good, but what makes exercising a bigger benefit is knowing how an exercise progresses an athlete’s abilities based on the sport he or she plays—examine what will ultimately be best for the athlete.  Going further, it’s also important to note that not all varieties of exercise should be done throughout the off-season.  Consider a football team where it’s better to focus on strength instead of conditioning during the off-season since strength is more difficult to improve and conditioning takes away from the body’s ability to build muscle.  Overall, the off-season is about improving physically and mentally, and becoming stronger, more explosive, and more athletic—and building confidence—so it’s crucial knowing how to spend the time to make the biggest impact.

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